Cornell University Press, December 2012. 524 pages, paperback, 40 plates with colour illustrations; 14 b/w photos and b/w illustrations, 3 b/w maps
Members of nearly all the families of South American birds can be found on the two beautiful West Indian islands of Trinidad and Tobago, where the pleasant climate, varied habitat, and avian diversity create a “birder’s paradise.” This easy-to-use book is the third edition of a comprehensive yet compact field guide to all 477 species of the islands’ birds, including 35 new species accounts added to the country’s bird list since the last edition. Richard Ffrench’s work has been a “bible” to birders since the appearance of the first edition in 1973. This third edition incorporates five decades of his notes and records of the island’s birds to present in a handy and readable form detailed and comprehensive information about the birds of Trinidad and Tobago.
Showcasing 40 all-new color plates by the very best bird artists working under the direction of John P. O’Neill, the third edition now includes illustrations of not only the islands’ endemic and resident species, but also the many migratory species that visit the islands from both the north and the south. The taxonomic arrangement and treatment of families and species has also been brought in line with the most recent determinations of the A.O.U. Committee on Nomenclature for a thoroughly up-to-date presentation. In his introduction, Richard Ffrench offers a full treatment of the history of ornithology in Trinidad and Tobago and sets the scene by describing the islands’ physiography, climate, and vegetation. Individual species accounts, arranged by family, make up the core of this identification guide. The accounts cover habitat and status, range and subspecies, field description and basic measurements, voice, food, nesting, and behavior. Richard Ffrench’s summary of the distribution of species and their breeding and migration, as well as local conservation and protection measures, makes this volume much more than a typical field-guide treatment, and invites visitors to this premier ecotourism destination.